Over the last few days I have learned a lot about how family child care providers view themselves, how the parents of the children in their care view them and the stark contrast in viewpoints of other organizations.
It started with a post on our Linked In group, the Child Care Roundtable. Jacqueline Crocker learned that Jo-Ann Fabrics does not recognize Family Child Care Providers or Center Based Child Care Providers as teachers and therefore does not extend benefits of their Teacher Rewards program to these types of care givers and teachers.
Jacqueline, knowing this is wrong, did something about it. Instead of simply venting on forums with those in her profession, she acted and has spurred action among others. Tom Copeland has interviewed Jacqueline and posted a blog, to know more about it you can the blog, "Are Family Child Care Providers Teachers?" here. Instead of rehashing what Tom has already so succinctly written, I want to give you some tools to encourage your peers to make a difference and educate the organizations that do not recognize you as teachers.
JoAnn Fabrics Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/JoAnn?v=wall. In order to comment, you have to "like" their page. You can "unlike" by scrolling down and clicking unlike to the left. Social media is powerful in that if enough people complain, the brand will not have a choice but to respond.
Template Email by Jacqueline: Jacqueline has drafted an email template to share with you. Send it to Jo-ann's. If we get enough people flooding their inbox, the customer service will have no choice but to address it with a manager.
Jo-Anns Community: also has a "My Jo-Ann's" for the community. Log-in and educate their users about their unfair policy, on the forums or the blogs. http://my.joann.com/topics/list/
Associations: Take both of these strategies and share with your local and national associations. Spread the word to as many peers and parents as possible. Make sure they tell JoAnn's they will not be shopping there until THEY hear the policy has changed.
Social Media: Post it on your Facebook page, your Twitter Feed, your MySpace page. Get the word out and don't forget to give the people you are talking to, quick ways to take action!
There is quite a bit of steam behind this! Don't let it fade away, keep it going until you affect the change you believe in.
Jo-Ann's has responded to the Facebook postings, which shows you are not being ignored and that is great! Don't let them brush you off with a promise of "If this policy changes in the future, you will be able to find the information by visiting www.joann.com/teachers and clicking on "Sign Up." If you stop now, they won't change it. Get more people involved, like Catherine Scott says, "In the state of California we are about 47,000 Family Childcare Providers strong. In numbers we have a voice. This is something I think we should put out over the internet throughout our different chats...... We have alot of power................."